Places

Do you ever find it weird to go back to a place that you once knew so well, which now seems almost unfamiliar?

It seems as though that one place, at that one particular point in time, was the setting for all of your memories; whether fond or tormenting recollections, still memories nonetheless. Everything you recall about a certain period of your life happened in or is associated with this place. In my eyes, I see places to be special, some more than others – I suppose this may be the case for everyone. Many places I guess we can be indifferent about; places where nothing of interest happens or perhaps places where we barely spend any time. Places which occupy much of our time however – these are the ones of importance to us. They hold some form of meaning.

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What is a place anyway?

A particular position, point, or area in space; a location.

It seems awfully silly to think that a mere pin on a map could seem to important to anyone, trivial almost. But I think the speciality of places are the feelings attached to them, the thoughts provoked once we go back there. It gives us a sense of belonging or perhaps discomfort. The smells, the view, the sounds – the simplicity of the everyday happenings at said place, they are enough to transport us. Back in time, ahead in time. Our minds go wild, thinking up scenarios which happened, or which we hoped to happen.

The place where we saw our loved ones for the last time, we can never forget those – also the place where we met our loved ones for the first time. The fascinating thought about all of this is that, at the end of the day, places are anchored. They cannot move, they cannot speak, they cannot think for themselves. Is this why we are so fond of them? Not even fond, it’s more than that to me, it’s pure fascination – how is it that just the mere feeling of being somewhere can make us feel and think so vividly.

A place we find comfort in, seek solace in, or go to for adventure, has the ability to provoke thoughts in our brains that we never even knew existed. Does it give us a sense of purpose in some silly, abstract way? We all wish we could talk to someone who would listen to every single damn thing we say; every delirious thought that goes through our head. What better to find comfort in than a place? A park cannot judge you, nor can a home, a swimming pool, a gym or a beach. You see, if places had ears, they’d echo with the stories of everyone’s lives who walked upon them, and everyone before us. They observe us, they watch us grow, they watch us fail and they watch us fight back. In a bizarre way, they do. We may pay no attention to our surroundings at all, or we may scrutinise every small detail about a place, but these places are filled with details of all the strangers who have been there.

What happens when you go back to a place which you once knew so well? When you go back, do you remember all the time you spent there, the feelings you felt, the experiences you experienced? Does your pulse begin to quicken and your palms begin to sweat? Do you fixate your gaze on one spot, reminisce and drown in your own nostalgia? Or do you take in the entire scene, inhale the past, the good times, exhale the bad. Have you dreamed of going somewhere you once went before? Or are there places you’ve been which you’re willing to do anything to avoid going again?

Do you find it strange that everything has changed? Or did you expect it? Do we ever really expect anything? I have so many questions when it comes to the significance of places, the fascination never ends – I think the biggest thing is that we find ourselves thinking so much about people, things, but what about places, where everything actually happens? They hold everything – everything in the world.

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The worn down brick walls in that house I grew up in finally gave way. The wallpaper in the bedrooms peeled and the cement began to crumble into fine sand. Places grow tired too. But perhaps changing is a part of life. Imagine staying stationary forever – being a car that never moved. Or being the sun… but never rising or setting. The universe demands change.

Change comes in many forms – progressive or regressive.

Buildings are constantly torn down and built up. In a city that’s constantly growing, you cannot expect to come back after a mere 6 months and expect it to be the same. There may be large changes, or perhaps small ones – but slow and steady, growth will not wait for anyone. And this is much like us mortals. We and these buildings that are regularly being taken apart and put together again – we are the same. We break down, we rebuild. Sometimes we take a little too long to rebuild – this causes strain on the people around us, the ones who care about us, they hate to see us suffer. Sometimes we hold in too much inside of us.

We weren’t built to carry so much weight, so much baggage. Buildings can give way too,

It’s okay to have a capacity – a limit.

As long as we constantly “refurbish” ourselves. Spring clean those extra weights on our shoulders. Give ourselves a new look, a new feel – perhaps a new purpose. This is healthy.

If we had all the time in the world though, we’d never stop building and rebuilding ourselves, bettering ourselves every waking moment. But alas, time is always slipping away from us. We chase time and dream of a life where we have no restrictions of time, a never-ending life. But wouldn’t that make everything so futile? How would you know the value of something unless you know one day it’ll be gone? The magic of the plants growing around us, the buildings, the population, the discovering of new species. All of this growth didn’t take place in one lifetime but multiple. It’s okay to realise that we cannot witness it all – it’s even better to realise that we should witness all we can.

Do you picture how your life will be in the future? How it’ll be next week, next month, the next ten years? Don’t we all? Ten years from now do you think your life will be how you imagine it now? I’d say no. The picture will never turn our exactly how you’d like it to. The picture will blur, be out of focus. The lighting may not be perfect – nothing may work our exactly how you want it to. But does it matter? Does it make that picture any less perfect? It’s not about the picture. It’s about how you see it:

It’s okay to refocus a little. 

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